Your female leopard geckos recently laid a clutch of eggs during this breeding season, but you have a problem: your eggs are dented.
Dented leopard gecko eggs can drive breeders crazy as they scramble to figure out what happened and how to correct it.
The good news is dented eggs can still deliver healthy hatchlings if you know how to correct the problem.
Incorrect humidity conditions most often cause dented leopard gecko eggs. Both dry and moist eggs may dent, but resolving the humidity issue can correct the problem. They may also dent if your female leopard geckos laid infertile eggs, which is assessed via egg candling.
Before you panic over dented eggs, here is everything you need to know about how to manage this condition for the health of your hatchlings.
Too Dry For Leopard Gecko Eggs
Leopard gecko eggs are notoriously sensitive to humidity and moisture.
They will dent if they are either too dry or even too moist. The humidity levels have to be just right to keep your future baby geckos safe and sound in their egg.
If the egg is too dry, the dry part may begin to cave in, and the eggs will dent.
The proper humidity levels should be between 85 and 95 percent.
The ideal temperature range is between 80-90° degrees Fahrenheit (32° C).
Even if your incubator registers in this humidity range, you may still have difficulty denting eggs.
This can occur if the eggs are not fully submerged in the substrate.
Often, the top of the exposed egg will begin to dent.
Fortunately, when eggs dent, it is a relatively common issue and is easily corrected.
Head out to the pet store to get some sphagnum moss to place over the top of the egg.
This can help restore moisture to the part of the egg which is caving in and denting.
If sphagnum moss is unavailable, a piece of paper towel may also be a good solution.
Tear the paper towel into a smaller piece to adequately cover the dented area.
Dampen it with water before placing it over the dent.
When you notice the wet paper towel starting to dry out, replace it with a new dampened section to keep the eggs as moist as possible.
For those having trouble introducing more moisture to the incubator, spray the walls of the container down with water.
Four or five sprays of water should be sufficient.
Make sure not to directly spray the eggs with water.
This can help with the lack of humidity.
Too Much Moisture Causes Leopard Gecko Eggs To Dent
Unfortunately, the eggs your female geckos lay are incredibly sensitive to moisture, and they can dent even if the air is too moist.
Too much moisture in the incubator can promote mold growth which ultimately damages the gecko egg.
If the humidity in the egg container is close to 95 percent or higher, you need to inspect the eggs for signs of mold growth.
Remember, a higher incubation temperature helps keep the thing dry too, so if you pick the lower incubation temperature, you may need to watch your humidity a little more.
Survey the egg closely to determine if it is developing a greenish tint or hue.
This is indicative of mold growth.
This gecko species do not fare well if there is mold growth on the eggs.
By the time you notice the color change, the egg may be too far gone to do much.
However, if you catch it early, there are a few things you need to do.
First, put on a pair of gloves as you do not want to handle the eggs with bare skin.
Then, wipe off as much of the mold growth as possible without damaging the egg and causing it to dent further.
Change the media in your incubator to something a bit dryer.
If you are using a deli cup as your improvised incubator, poke a few additional holes in it to increase airflow.
How do you know when moldy eggs are too far gone?
Your breeding season may not be successful if your eggs are too moldy.
While some can recover, not all will be able to spring back.
Moldy eggs could be a sign of infertility, to begin with.
If you aren’t sure whether the eggs could be viable, keep incubating them until it is apparent the hatchlings are dead when the eggs start to rot or smell.
Infertile Leopard Gecko Eggs
There are times when female leopard geckos will lay infertile eggs.
If you don’t think her egg production is caused by successful mating, then chances are you are dealing with infertile eggs.
Keep in mind leopard geckos will breed if given a chance.
Even if your male and female were only together for a short while, there is still a chance the eggs are fertile.
Never discard a clutch of eggs simply because you aren’t sure whether they are fertile or not.
The best way to tell if your leopard gecko eggs are fertile is to perform an action known as egg candling.
In essence, you will be holding them up to a light to determine if the contents are producing a hatchling.
Turn off the lights in the room where you will be performing the egg candling.
Using a strong flashlight, shine the light on the eggs and take a closer look.
There is no need to remove the egg from the incubator unless necessary.
You probably won’t be able to see an actual hatchling grow, especially if the egg is in its early stages.
Instead, you are looking for the overall color of the inside of the egg.
If your breeding season was successful, you would see a pink or reddish hue to the eggs.
This is a good indicator your gravid geckos laid fertile eggs.
On the other hand, infertile eggs will register as a yellow color with no hints of red.
Read more details on how to tell if your leopard gecko egg is fertile.
Make sure to check all eggs as a clutch mate may be fertile even if the first egg you candle is infertile.
Experienced breeders will often continue to incubate the eggs until the inviability is apparent such as collapsed eggs, moldy eggs, and rotting eggs.